Wedding Ceremony Music GuideBack to Directory

By Yours Truly

The Prelude

The prelude music is the music played 20 to 30 minutes prior to the beginning of your ceremony. This music establishes the mood of your wedding. You can utilizes a vocalist, an organist, a string ensemble or even taped music. Classical, elegant music from Vivaldi, Mozart and Handel is often used for prelude music, but you can play anything from Beethoven to the Beach Boys. Your guests will be seated during the prelude music.

The Processional

This is the music that begins with the entrance of the wedding party. The ushers lead the processional, followed by the bridesmaids and maid of honor. Then comes the ring bearer and flower girl (if you have them). This music starts out softly and increases in volume until the time for the bride's entrance. Canon in D Major (Pachelbel) is commonly used during the processional.

The Bride's Entrance

This is probably the most important part of the ceremony music. All the guests rise when the bride begins her walk down the aisle and all the attention is focused on her! Many brides choose Bridal Chorus (Wagner), known as "Here Comes the Bride." However, you can choose any song that you wish. Trumpet Voluntary (Clarke) is also very popular.

Music During the Ceremony

If you'd like, you can have a few selections of music played during your ceremony. This music can be be played during the unity candle lighting, or at any other time. You can also have a short interlude by a vocalist right before a reading or prayer. Ave Maria (Bach/Gounod) is a top choice for ceremony music.

The Recessional

After the bride and groom kiss, the officiant will announce the couple as they turn toward to walk back down the aisle arm in arm. This is when the recessional music begins. The recessional order is the bride and groom, flower girl and ring bearer, the maid of honor and best man, and finally the bridesmaids and ushers in pairs. Ode to Joy (Beethoven) and Wedding March (Mendelssohn) are often used for the recessional music.

The Postlude

Immediately after the recessional music ends, the postlude begins. This music consists of a few more upbeat songs as your guests exit the ceremony site. As with the other parts of the ceremony music, you can choose any type of music you wish for the postlude. Overture (from Music for the Royal Fireworks - Handel) and Trumpet Tune and Air (Purcell) are common.

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